Sunday, July 25, 2021

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2131 (starts 7/26/21)

    This week we feature a set of obscure Kinks tracks, a long set of tracks from Jimi Hendrix and a set of cover songs from Jefferson Airplane. Plus, of course, the usual mix of hit singles, B sides and album tracks from over a dozen other artists of the psychedelic era, including tracks from Family, Gypsy and Cat Stevens that have never been played on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era before.

Artist:    Spencer Davis Group
Title:    I'm A Man
Source:    Mono LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Winwood/Miller
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1967
    The Spencer Davis Group, featuring Steve and Muff Winwood, was one of the UK's most successful white R&B bands of the sixties, cranking out a steady stream of hit singles. Two of them, the iconic Gimme Some Lovin' and I'm A Man, were also major hits in the US, the latter being the last song to feature the Winwood brothers. Muff Winwood became a successful record producer. The group itself continued on for several years, but were never able to duplicate their earlier successes. As for Steve Winwood, he quickly faded off into obscurity, never to be heard from again. Except as the leader of Traffic. And a member of Blind Faith. And Traffic again. And some critically-acclaimed collaborations in the early 1980s with Asian musicians. Oh yeah, and a few major solo hits (Back In The High Life, Roll With It...that kinda thing) in the mid-to-late 1980s. Other than that, nothing.

Artist:    Circus Maximus
Title:    Chess Game
Source:    LP: Circus Maximus
Writer(s):    Bob Bruno
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    New York's Greenwich Village based Circus Maximus was driven by the dual creative talents of guitarist/keyboardist Bob Bruno and guitarist Jerry Jeff Walker. Although Walker went on to have the greatest success, it was Bruno's more jazz-influenced songwriting on songs like Chess Game that defined the band's sound. Bruno is now a successful visual artist, still living in the New York area.

Artist:     Standells
Title:     Try It
Source:     LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Levine/Bellack
Label:     Rhino (original label: Tower)
Year:     1967
     After a series of singles written by producer Ed Cobb had resulted in diminishing returns, the Standells recorded Try It, a tune co-written by Joey Levine, who would rise to semi-anonymous notoriety as lead vocalist for the Ohio Express, a group that was essentially a vehicle for the Kazenetz/Katz production team, purveyors of what came to be called "bubble gum" music. The song itself was quickly banned on most radio stations under the assumption that the phrase "try it" was a call for teenage girls to abandon their virginity. The fact is that nowhere in the song does the word "teenage" appear, but nonetheless the song failed to make a dent in the charts, despite its catchy melody and danceable beat, which should have garnered it at least a 65 rating on American Bandstand.

Artist:    Hollies
Title:    Maker
Source:    British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road (originally released in UK on LP: Butterfly and in US on LP: Dear Eloise/King Midas In Reverse)
Writer(s):    Clarke/Hicks/Nash
Label:    EMI (original UK label: Parlophone, original US label: Epic)
Year:    1967
    Graham Nash was the one of the three core members of the Hollies who pushed the other two (the other two being Tony Hicks and Allan Clarke) into the band's most psychedelic phase in 1967, first with the single King Midas In Reverse and then with the album Butterfly (which was issued in substantially altered form as Dear Eloise/King Midas In Reverse in the US). Nash's influence can be heard throughout the album, especially on Maker, which meshes Nash's penchant for experimentation with the group's trademark harmonies. This change in musical direction did not sit well with the rest of the band, however, and ultimately led to Nash's departure from the Hollies in 1968.
Artist:    Simon And Garfunkel
Title:    We've Got A Groovey Thing Going
Source:    LP: Sounds Of Silence (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1965
    In late 1965, producer Tom Wilson decided to perform an experiment. He took the original recording of a song from Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel's 1964 album, Wednesday Morning 6AM, and added electric instruments to it (using some of the same musicians that had played on Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited album), essentially creating a whole new version of the song and, for that matter, a whole new genre: folk-rock. The Sound of Silence, backed by We've Got a Groovey Thing Going, became a huge national hit, going all the way to #1 on the top 40 charts. The only problem was that by the time all this happened, Simon and Garfunkel had gone their separate ways, briefly reuniting to record We've Got a Groovey Thing Going in 1965, but not releasing it at the time. Paul Simon, who was by then living in England, returned to the states in early 1966 and reunited with Art Garfunkel. The rest is history.

Artist:    Love
Title:    You I'll Be Following
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on LP: Love)
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Rhino (original label: Elektra)
Year:    1966
    When the Byrds decided to tour heavily to support their early hits Mr. Tambourine Man and Turn! Turn! Turn!, Arthur Lee's band Love was more than happy to fill the void left on the L.A. club scene. The group quickly established itself as the top band on the strip and caught the attention of Elektra Records, an album-oriented label that had previously specialized in blues and folk music but was looking to move into rock. Love was soon signed to a contract with Elektra and released their self-titled debut LP in 1966. That album featured songs that were primarily in a folk-rock vein, such as You I'll Be Following, although even then there were signs that bandleader Arthur Lee was capable of writing quality tunes that defied easy classification. Love would remain the top band on the strip for the next year and a half, releasing two more albums before the original group dissolved. To maintain their status as local heroes, Love chose to stay close to home. The lack of time spent promoting their records ultimately led to them being supplanted as the star group for Elektra by the Doors, a band that had been recommended to the label by Lee himself.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Our Love Was, Is
Source:    LP: Magic Bus (originally released on LP: The Who Sell Out)
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:    1967
    The Who's late-1967 album, The Who Sell Out, is best known for its faux commercials and actual jingles lifted from the British pirate station Radio London. Hidden among the commercial hype, however, are some of the band's best tunes, including Our Love Was, a song that was one of the few LP tracks to be included on the Who's Magic Bus compilation album.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    It's Breaking Me Up
Source:    CD: This Was
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis/Capitol (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    Jethro Tull originally was part of the British blues scene, but even in the early days the band's principal songwriter Ian Anderson wanted to expand beyond the confines of that particular genre. Ironically It's Breaking Me Up, from Jethro Tull's first LP, is an Anderson composition that is rooted solidly in the British blues style.

Artist:    Family
Title:    From Past Archives
Source:    British import CD: Music In A Doll's House/Family Entertainment (originally released on LP: Family Entertainment)
Writer(s):    Whitney/Chapman
Label:    See For Miles (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1969
    Family was in the middle of a US tour in March of 1969 when their manager, John Gilbert, mixed and released an album's worth of material without the band's knowledge or permission. Before going on tour, the band had added several of the songs that would appear on Family Entertainment, such as From Past Archives, to their live repertoire, and the album was an instant success in their native UK, going into the top 20 on the British charts before the group headed across the Atlantic. Unfortunately, just as the band's US tour was getting underway, bassist Ric Grech announced that he would be leaving the group to join Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Steve Winwood in a supergroup to be called Blind Faith, which destabilized the band somewhat. They eventually recovered from the loss, however, and went on to record a total of seven albums before disbanding in 1973.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix/Band Of Gypsys
Title:    Lover Man
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Experience Hendrix/Legacy
Year:    Recorded 1969, released 2018
    When the Jimi Hendrix Experience made their US debut at the Monterey International Pop Festival in June of 1967 they opened with a high-energy workup of the Muddy Waters classic Killing Floor. Hendrix' arrangement of the song was so radically different from the original that Hendrix eventually decided to write new lyrics for the song, calling it Lover Man. Several attempts were made to get the song recorded in the studio, including this one recorded on December 15, 1969 with bassist Billy Cox and drummer Buddy Miles. Two weeks later they recorded a series of performances at New York's Madison Square Garden that were used for the 1970 album Band Of Gypsys, although Lover Man was not among the songs selected for the LP.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    1983…(A Merman I Should Turn To Be)/Moon Turn The Tides (Gently, Gently Away)
Source:    LP: Electric Ladyland
Writer:    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    1983…(A Merman I Should Turn To Be)/Moon Turn The Tides (Gently, Gently Away) from the Electric Ladyland album is the longest work created purely in the studio by Jimi Hendrix, with a running time of over 16 minutes. The piece starts with tape effects that lead into the song's main guitar rift. The vocals and drums join in to tell a science fiction story set in a future world where the human race has had to move underwater in order to survive some unspecified catastrophe. After a couple verses, the piece goes into a long unstructured section made up mostly of guitar effects before returning to the main theme and closing out with more effects that combine volume control and stereo panning to create a circular effect. As is the case with several tracks on Electric Ladyland, 1983…(A Merman I Should Turn To Be)/Moon Turn The Tides (Gently, Gently Away) features Hendrix on both guitar and bass, with Mitch Mitchell on drums and special guest Chris Wood (from Traffic) on flute.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix/Band Of Gypsys
Title:    We Gotta Live Together
Source:    LP: Band Of Gypsys
Writer(s):    Buddy Miles
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1970
    In October of 1969, guitarist Jimi Hendrix and bassist Billy Cox (who had been performing with Hendrix since the original Experience disbanded in June of 1969) began working with drummer Buddy Miles in a group that would come to be known as Band Of Gypsys. For various reasons, Hendrix had not come up with any marketable studio recordings that year, and, thanks to a lawsuit, was under pressure to record an album for the Capitol label, even though he was still under contract to Reprise. The solution was for the trio to record a series of concerts at Madison Square Gardens over the New Year's holiday, compiling the best of these into a live album called Band Of Gypsys. Not all of the material came from Hendrix, however. The final track on the album, We Gotta Live Together, is credited to Miles, although Hendrix does quite a bit of improvisation throughout the piece.

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    Pushin' Too Hard
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: KRLA 42 Solid Rock (originally released on LP: The Seeds and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Sky Saxon
Label:    Take 6 (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Year:    1965
    Pushin' Too Hard was originally released as a single in 1965 (under the title You're Pushin' Too Hard), but did not make an immediate impression. The following year, however, the tune started getting some local airplay on Los Angeles area stations. This in turn led to the band recording their first album, The Seeds, which was released in spring of 1966. A second Seeds LP, A Web Of Sound, hit L.A. record stores in the fall of the same year. Meanwhile, Pushin' Too Hard, which had been reissued with a different B side in mid-1966, started to get national airplay, hitting its peak position on the Billboard charts in February of 1967.

Artist:    Gypsy
Title:    Gypsy Queen
Source:    LP: Gypsy
Writer(s):    Enrico Rosenbaum
Label:    Gypsy
Year:    1970
    In the mid-1960s it was common, especially in the larger cities in the US, for a local band to go into a local recording studio and make a record that would be released on a local label and get played on a local radio station or two. Sometimes these songs would become local, or even regional hits. In a few cases these songs even became national hits, and in rare cases would lead to an entire run of hits. By 1970, however, this path to success had all but disappeared, due to a number of factors. Most local radio stations were tightening their playlists to include only nationally charted hits. Locally-owned record labels had all but disappeared, with the more successful ones being bought out by their larger competitors. Bands looking for national success were forced to relocate, usually to New York or Los Angeles. One such band was Gypsy. Formed in Minnesota as the Underbeats, the band moved to L.A. in 1969, renaming themselves Gypsy and becoming the house band at the Whisky a Go Go in West Hollywood. It was during their tenure at the Whisky that they released their self-titled double LP debut album containing their biggest hit, Gypsy Queen-Part 1. The band released several more albums over a period of over 40 years, both as Gypsy and as the James Walsh Gypsy Band. They played their final show on November 4, 2017 in St. Louis.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Wait Till The Summer Comes Along
Source:    Mono 45 RPM EP: Kwyet Kinks
Writer(s):    Dave Davies
Label:    Sanctuary/BMG (original UK label: Pye)
Year:    1965
    Kinks Kinkdom was an LP that was only released in the US. Most of the songs had been previously released in the UK, but not in the US. Among the songs on Kinks Kinkdom are four tracks that had appeared in the UK on an Extended Play 45 RPM record called Kwyet Kinks. The EP was a deliberate attempt on the part of the band to distance themselves from their early image as one of the hardest rocking bands of the British Invasion. The opening track of Kwyet Kinks was Wait Till The Summer Comes Along, a Dave Davies composition that has a decidedly country feel to it.
Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Victoria
Source:    CD: The Kink Kronikles (originally released on LP: Arthur or The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire)
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Polygram/PolyTel (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1969
    The Kinks were at their commercial low point in 1969 when they released their third single from their controversial concept album Arthur or The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire. Their previous two singles had failed to chart, even in their native England, and the band had not had a top 20 hit in the US since Sunny Afternoon in 1966. Victoria was a comeback of sorts, as it did manage to reach the #62 spot in the US and the #33 spot in the UK.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Don't You Fret
Source:    Mono British import EP: Kwyet Kinks
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Sanctuary (original label: Pye)
Year:    1965
    The British record market was considerably different than its American counterpart in the mid-1966s. Unlike in the US, where artists were expected to prove themselves with at least two hit singles before being allowed to record an LP, British acts often found themselves recording four or five song EPs as a transition between single and album. Furthermore, British singles were generally not included on British albums. When those albums were released in the US, the American labels often deleted songs that they considered filler from the original LP in favor of hit singles, which were felt to be necessary to generate album sales. This led to a surplus of songs that would appear on US-only LPs made up of material that had been previously released only in the UK. Such is the case with Kinkdom, a collection of singles, B sides, album tracks and the entire Kwyet Kinks EP from 1965. Kwyet Kinks itself was a significant release in that it was the first indication of a change in direction from the early hard-rocking Kinks hits such as You Really Got Me toward a more mellow style that the group would come to favor toward the end of the decade. Songs such as Don't You Fret can be considered a direct precursor to later songs such as Sunny Afternoon and Dedicated Follower Of Fashion.

Artist:    Butterfield Blues Band
Title:    Work Song
Source:    CD: East-West
Writer(s):    Adderly/Brown
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1966
    Although technically not a rock album, the Butterfield Blues Band's East-West was nonetheless a major influence on many up and coming rock musicians that desired to transcend the boundaries of top 40 radio. Both the title track and the band's reworking of Nat Adderly's Work Song feature extended solos from all the band members, with Work Song in particular showing Butterfield's prowess on harmonica, as well as helping cement Michael Bloomfield's reputation as the nation's number one electric guitarist (before the emergence of Jimi Hendrix, at any rate). Elvin Bishop's guitar work on the song is not too shabby either.

Artist:    The Raik's Progress
Title:    Sewer Rat Love Chant
Source:    Mono LP: Sewer Rat Love Chant (originally released in US as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Kates/Krikorian/Scott
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Liberty)
Year:    1966
    Fresno, California, was home to the Raik's Progress, once described as "a bunch of 17-year-old quasi-intellectual proto-punks" by frontman Steve Krikorian, who later became known as Tonio K. The Raik's progress only released one single, Sewer Rat Love Chant, which appeared on the Liberty label in 1966.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    For What It's Worth (Stop, Hey What's That Sound)
Source:    LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Cotillion (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    By mid-1966 Hollywood's Sunset Strip was being taken over every night by local teenagers, with several underage clubs featuring live music being a major attraction. Many of the businesses in the area, citing traffic problems and rampant drug and alcohol abuse, began to put pressure on city officials to do something about the situation. The city responded by passing new loitering ordinances and imposing a 10PM curfew on the Strip. They also began putting pressure on the clubs, including condemning the popular Pandora's Box for demolition. On November 12, 1966 fliers appeared on the streets inviting people to a demonstration that evening to protest the closing of the club. The demostration continued over a period of days, exascerbated by the city's decision to revoke the permits of a dozen other clubs on the Strip, forcing them to bar anyone under the age of 21 from entering. Stephen Stills, a member of Buffalo Springfield, one of the many bands appearing regularly in these clubs, wrote a new song in response to the situation, and the band quickly booked studio time, recording the still-unnamed track on December 5th. The band had recently released their debut LP, but sales of the album were lackluster due to the lack of a hit single. Stills reportedly presented the new recording to label head Ahmet Ertegun with the words "I have this song here, for what it's worth, if you want it." Ertegun, sensing that he had a hit on his hands, got the song rush-released two days before Christmas, 1966, using For What It's Worth as the official song title, but sub-titling it Stop, Hey What's That Sound on the label as well. As predicted, For What It's Worth was an instant hit in the L.A. market, and soon went national, where it was taken by most record buyers to be about the general sense of unrest being felt across the nation over issues like racial equality and the Vietnam War (and oddly enough, by some people as being about the Kent State massacre, even though that happened nearly three years after the song was released). As the single moved up the charts, eventually peaking at #7, Atco recalled the Buffalo Springfield LP, reissuing it with a modified song selection that included For What It's Worth as the album's openng track. Needless to say, album sales picked up after that. As a matter of fact, I don't think I've ever even seen a copy of the Buffalo Springfield album without For What It's Worth on it, although I'm sure some of those early pressings must still exist.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Lawdy Mama
Source:    LP: Live Cream
Writer(s):    Trad., arr. Eric Clapton
Label:    Atco
Year:    Recorded 1967, released 1970
    Lawdy Mama (sometimes known as Hey Lawdy Mama) is a blues song that goes back at least as far as the 1920s. In 1965 Junior Wells and Buddy Guy recorded a Chicago blues version of the song for the Hoodoo Man Blues album. It was this version that Cream performed on a December 1966 BBC broadcast, recording a similar version in the studio in early 1967. They then reworked the instrumental tracks but kept Wells's lyrics for a second version of Lawdy Mama, which they also recorded in early 1967. Still not satisfied with the way the song was going, producer Felix Pappalardi and his wife Janet Collins came up with a whole new melody line and lyrics to go with the newer instrumental tracks; Eric Clapton then added his vocals and a new lead guitar track to the recording, which was released under the title Strange Brew on the Disraeli Gears album. Meanwhile, a mix of the second version of Lawdy Mama was set aside, and eventually got released as the only studio track on the 1970 album Live Cream. Luckily, the then-common practice of superimposing fake crowd sounds to make a studio recording sound like a live track was not followed by the producers of Live Cream.

Artist:    Crow
Title:    Cottage Cheese
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Weigand/Waggoner
Label:    Amaret
Year:    1970
    In late 1970 I found myself living in Alamogordo, NM, which was at the time one of those places that still didn't have an FM station (in fact, the only FM station we could receive was a classical station in Las Cruces, 70 miles away). To make it worse, there were only two AM stations in town, and the only one that played current songs went off the air at sunset. As a result the only way to hear current music at night (besides buying albums without hearing them first) was to "DX" distant AM radio stations. Of these, the one that came in most clearly and consistently was KOMA in Oklahoma City. My friends and I spent many a night driving around with KOMA cranked up, fading in and out as long-distance AM stations always do. One of those nights in 1970 we were all blown away by Cottage Cheese, Crow's follow-up to their 1969 hit Evil Woman, Don't Play Your Games With Me, which, due to the conservative nature of the local daytime-only station, was not getting any local airplay. Years later I was lucky enough to find a copy in a thrift store in Albuquerque. Here it is.

Artist:    Cat Stevens
Title:    Wild World
Source:    CD: The Very Best Of Cat Stevens (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Cat Stevens
Label:    A&M
Year:    1970
    For most Americans, Cat Stevens appeared suddenly on the scene in late 1970 with the song Wild World. Like Donovan before him, however, Stevens had already enjoyed several years of success on the British charts before making it big in the US, including no less than three top 10 singles. Ironically, Wild World itself was not released as a single in the UK.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Let's Get Together
Source:    Mono LP: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off
Writer(s):    Dino Valenti
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1966
    Although Dino Valenti recorded a demo version of his song Let's Get Together in 1964, it wasn't until two years later that the song made its first appearance on vinyl as a track on Jefferson Airplane Takes Off. The Airplane version of the song is unique in that the lead vocals alternate between Paul Kantner, Signe Anderson and Marty Balin, with each one taking a verse and all of them singing on the chorus.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Wooden Ships
Source:    CD: Volunteers
Writer(s):    Crosby/Kantner/Stills
Label:    BMG/RCA
Year:    1969
    By 1969 it was becoming more common for rock music to take on more serious themes, both musically and lyrically. The Byrds, in particular, had used science fiction themes on songs like Mr. Spaceman and CTA-102. One of the best science fiction themed song was Wooden Ships, which tells the tale of survivors of a nuclear apocalypse, who are escaping the radiation. The song appeared on two different LPs in 1969: Jefferson Airplane's Volunteers album and the self-titled debut by Crosby, Stills and Nash. The song was co-written by Crosby, Stills and the Airplane's Paul Kantner. Kantner's name was deliberately left off the credits on the Crosby, Stills and Nash version due to issues between Kantner and the Airplane's manager, whom Kantner feared would file an injunction against the release of the CSN album if Kantner's name appeared anywhere on it.
Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Tobacco Road
Source:    Mono LP: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off
Writer(s):    John D. Loudermilk
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1966
    In their early days Jefferson Airplane, like most of their contemporaries, included several cover tunes in their repertoire. Unlike many other bands, however, the Airplane managed to stamp all of their covers with their own unmistakable sound. One excellent example of this is the Airplane's version of Tobacco Road, a song by John D. Loudermilk that had been a hit for the British invasion band Nashville Teens in 1964. The Airplane version, which appears on their debut LP, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off, takes an entirely different approach than the Teens' rendition (or the similarly styled Blues Magoos version recorded around the same time as the Airplane's), laying off the power chords in favor of a jazzier approach more in tune with guitarist Jorma Kaukonen's style of playing.

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    From A Buick 6
Source:    CD: Highway 61 Revisited
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1965
    Although Bob Dylan had experimented with using electric instruments on some of the tracks of his 1965 album, Bringing It All Back Home, he went all out with his next LP, Highway 61 Revisited. Many of the songs had a whole new sound to them, while others, such as From A Buick 6, were more or less in the same style as Dylan's earlier songs, but electrified.


Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2131 (starts 7/26/21)

    This week we have several songs getting a second look on the show, as well as a couple of old favorites and a few that haven't been featured on Rockin' in the Days of Confusion before at all.

Artist:    Grand Funk Railroad
Title:    Time Machine
Source:    CD: On Time
Writer:    Mark Farner
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1969
    Universally panned by the rock press, the first Grand Funk Railroad album, On Time, was at best a moderate success when it was first released. Thanks to the band's extensive touring, however, GFR had built up a sizable following by the time their self-titled follow up LP (aka the Red Album) was released in 1970. That year, Grand Funk Railroad became the first rock band to chalk up four gold albums in the same year, with Closer To Home and their double-LP live album joining the first two studio albums. One of the most popular tracks from On Time was Time Machine, which captures the essence of the band's early years.

Artist:    Spirit
Title:    Fresh Garbage
Source:    European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Spirit)
Writer(s):    Jay Ferguson
Label:    Sony Music (original label: Ode)
Year:    1968
    Much of the material on the first Spirit album was composed by vocalist Jay Ferguson while the band was living in a big house in California's Topanga Canyon outside of Los Angeles. During their stay there was a garbage strike, which became the inspiration for the album's opening track, Fresh Garbage. The song starts off as a rather bouncy rock tune and suddenly breaks into a section that is pure jazz, showcasing the group's instrumental talents, before returning to the main theme to finish out the track.The group used a similar formula on about half the tracks on the LP, giving the album and the band a distinctive sound right out of the box.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix/Gypsy Sun And Rainbows
Title:    Foxy Lady
Source:    CD: Live At Woodstock
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Experience Hendrix/Legacy
Year:    1969
    Jimi Hendrix's new ensemble, Gypsy Sun And Rainbows, had only had time for a couple of rehearsals when they took the stage at Woodstock on the morning of August 18,1969, and had spent that time trying to develop new material rather than work on songs that had already been previously recorded by the original Jimi Hendrix Experience. Still, they had to fill up stage time, and so, without ever having played them as a group, the band knocked out credible versions of old favorites like Foxy Lady. Of course, having Mitch Mitchell in the group helped considerably, and Billy Cox had known Hendrix for years and was familiar with the material as well. Due as much to technical issues as anything else, the performances of the other three members of the band, guitarist Larry Lee and percussionists Juma Sultan and Jerry Velez, were pretty much inaudible on the recording of the gig.

Artist:    Savoy Brown
Title:    Leavin' Again
Source:    CD: Looking In
Writer(s):    Simmonds/Peverett
Label:    Deram (original label: Parrot)
Year:    1970
    There are several similarities between Fleetwood Mac and Savoy Brown. Both started out recording covers of American blues artists almost exclusively. Both were originally led by talented guitarists (Peter Green and Kim Simmonds, respectively) whose first love was very obviously the blues. Both bands ended up going through many lineup changes over the years, as they slowly became more rock-oriented. That's where the similarity ends, however. Whereas Green decided to leave Fleetwood Mac altogether following the 1969 LP Then Play On, Simmonds instead tightened his reins on the group in order to keep them rooted in the blues, aided in his efforts by lead vocalist Chris Youlden. After Youlden left the group for a solo career, however, the remaining band members asserted their desire to play more rock, as can be heard on tracks like Leavin' Again, from the 1970 album Looking In. Simmonds, however, wasn't having any of it and dismissed the entire band following the release of Looking In and hiring several members of Chicken Shack to continue in a more blues-oriented direction. As for the dismissed members of Savoy Brown (Dave Peverett, Roger Earl and Tone Stevens), they went off and formed their own band: Foghat.

Artist:    Rod Stewart
Title:    True Blue
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single B side (from LP: Never A Dull Moment)
Writer(s):    Stewart/Wood
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1972
    Rod Stewart and Ron Wood started performing together in 1967, when they were both members of the Jeff Beck Group. When that group disbanded, the two of them joined up with the remnants of the Small Faces to form Faces. Even as Faces was growing in popularity, Stewart was pursuing a parallel solo career. This has led to some confusion over which songs were Faces tunes and which ones were Stewart's. Complicating things further is the fact than most of the members of Faces (including Wood) played on many of Stewart's records, including the hit single You Wear It Well, which appeared on Stewart's 1972 LP Never A Dull Moment. The B side of that single was True Blue, a Stewart/Wood collaboration that also served as Never A Dull Moment's opening track. Things got considerably less confusing in 1975, however, when Wood accepted an invitation to replace Mick Taylor in the Rolling Stones, a position he has held ever since.

Artist:    Supersister
Title:    No Tree Will Grow (On Too High A Mountain)
Source:    British import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released in Holland on LP: To The Highest Bidder)
Writer(s):    Robert Jan Stips
Label:    Polydor
Year:    1971
    When the subject of Dutch progressive rock bands comes up, usually the first group to come to mind is Focus. After all, their best known tune, Hocus Pocus, still gets a decent amount of exposure on classic rock radio. But Focus was not the first prog-rock band to come from the Netherlands. That honor goes to Supersister. Formed in 1965 at the Grotius College in the Hague as the Blubs by drummer Marco Vrolijk and keyboardist Robert Jan Stips, the band was known as Sweet OK Supersister by 1967, and had shortened their name to Supersister by the time they released their debut LP, Present From Nancy, in 1970. Infuential British DJ John Peel began to give the group exposure on his BBC show, and in 1971 the band's second album, To The Highest Bidder, became their first to be released in the UK. One of the featured tracks on the album was the seven and a half minute long No Tree Will Grow (On Too High A Mountain), which was also released, in edited form, as a single.

Artist:    Focus
Title:    Harem Scarem
Source:    45 RPM single (promo)
Writer(s):    Thijs van Leer
Label:    Atco
Year:    1974
    From a purely artistic perspective, Focus's 1974 album Hamburger Concerto is one of the Amsterdam band's best efforts. However, none of the tracks on the album had the commercial appeal of songs like Hocus Pocus of Sylvia. The nearest it came was keyboardist Thijs van Leer's composition Harem Scarem, which had to be edited from its nearly six minute LP length down to slighly more than three minutes for single release. The song failed to get any top 40 airplay, however.

Artist:    Al Kooper/Stephen Stills/Harvey Brooks/Eddie Hoh
Title:    Season Of The Witch
Source:    LP: Super Session
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Sundazed/Columbia
Year:    1968
            In 1968 Columbia Records staff producer Al Kooper, who had also been the keyboardist of the Blues Project, formed a new group he called Blood, Sweat and Tears. Then, after recording one album with the new group, he promptly quit the band. He then booked studio time and called in his friend Michael Bloomfield (who had just left own his new band the Electric Flag) for a recorded jam session. Due to his chronic insomnia and inclination to use heroin to deal with said insomnia, Bloomfield was unable to record an entire album's worth of material, and Kooper called in another friend, Stephen Stills (who had recently left the Buffalo Springfield) to complete the project. The result was the Super Session album, which surprisingly (considering that it was the first album of its kind), made the top 10 album chart. One of the most popular tracks on Super Session was an extended version of Donovan's "Season of the Witch", featuring Stills using a wah-wah pedal (a relatively new invention at the time). Kooper initially felt that the basic tracks needed some sweetening, so he brought in a horn section to record additional overdubs.

Artist:    Styx
Title:    A Day
Source:    LP: Styx II
Writer(s):    John Curulewski
Label:    Wooden Nickel
Year:    1973
    Although Dennis DeYoung was responsible for writing most of Styx's material, there were a few exceptions, including A Day from the album Styx II. Written and sung by keyboardist and founding member John Curulewski, A Day is a considerably more dark and moody piece that anything else on the LP, although it does have a faster section in the middle featuring some nice harmony guitar leads from Curulewski and James "JY" Young. I've always considered it one of the best tracks on the album.

Artist:    Coloured Balls
Title:    Sitting Bull
Source:    Australian import CD: Heavy Metal Kid
Writer(s):    Lobby Lloyd
Label:    Aztec (original label: EMI)
Year:    1974
    Lobby Loyde, although a guitar legend in Australia, is virtually unknown in the US. This is a shame, since he, in the words of former bandmate Angry Anderson, "helped create the Australian guitar sound, long before Angus [Young]. Lobby inspired Australian bands to step forward and play as loud and aggressively as they could." Born in 1941, Loyde had hit singles in Australia as a member of Purple Hearts and later Wild Cherries, and was a major force on the Australian pub rock scene in the 1970s. Loyde released two albums as a member of Coloured Balls, which also featured Andrew Fordham on guitar and vocals, Janis Miglans on bass guitar and Trevor Young on drums. Sitting Bull, from the 1974 album Heavy Metal Kid, may not have the most politically correct opening riff, but is a solid showcase for Lloyd's prowess on guitar.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2130 (starts 7/19/21)

    This is one of those shows that takes on a different character in each of its four segments. The first segment is made up almost entirely of British tracks (the exception being a Jimi Hendrix tune recorded in 1969 with the band that he would appear with at Woodstock). The second segment features songs with some attitude, with a pair of relatively mellow tunes from San Francisco bands to finish out the hour. Our second hour features Parthenogenesis, possibly the most experimental track ever released by a blues band. The final half hour is like a long shower. It starts off pretty hot, but by the end of the show has gotten pretty cool.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    The Trip
Source:    Mono CD: Sunshine On The Mountain (originally released as 45 RPM B side and on LP: Sunshine Superman)
Writer:    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Sony (original label: Epic)
Year:    1966
    Donovan had already established a reputation in his native Scotland as the UK's answer to Bob Dylan, but had not had much success in the US, where his records were being released on the relatively poorly distributed Hickory label. That all changed in 1966, however, when he began to move beyond his folk roots and embrace a more electric sound. Unlike Dylan, who basically kept the same style as his acoustic songs, simply adding electic instruments, Donovan took a more holistic approach. The result was a body of music with a much broader range of sounds. The first of these new electric tunes was Sunshine Superman, sometimes cited as the first top 10 psychedelic hit. The B side of Sunshine Superman was a song called The Trip, which managed to be even more psychedelic than it's A side. Both songs soon appeared on Donovan's major US label debut, an album that was not even released in the UK due to a contractual dispute between the singer/songwriter and Pye Records.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Dance The Night Away
Source:    CD: Disraeli Gears
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    Polydor/Polygram (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    The album Fresh Cream was perhaps the first LP from a rock supergroup, although at the time a more accurate description would have been British blues supergroup. Much of the album was reworking of blues standards by the trio of Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker, all of whom had established their credentials with various British blues bands. With their second album, Disraeli Gears, Cream showed a psychedelic side as well as their original blues orientation. Most of the more psychedelic material, such as Dance the Night Away, was from the songwriting team of Bruce and lyricist Pete Brown.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Parachute Woman
Source:    LP: Beggar's Banquet
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1968
    The last Rolling Stones album to feature the band's original lineup was Beggar's Banquet, released in 1968. The album itself was a conscious effort on the part of the band to get back to their roots after the psychedelic excesses of Their Satanic Majesties Request. The band's founder, Brian Jones, was fast deteriorating at the time and his contributions to the album are minimal compared to the band's earlier efforts. As a result, Keith Richards was responsible for most of the guitar work on Beggar's Banquet, including both lead and rhythm parts on Parachute Woman.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix/Gypsy Sun & Rainbows
Title:    Message To The Universe (Message To Love)
Source:    CD: South Saturn Delta
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Experience Hendrix/MCA
Year:    Recorded 1969, released 1997
    On August 28, 1969, less than two weeks after his appearance at Woodstock, Jimi Hendrix brought his stage band, semi-officially known as Gypsy Sun & Rainbows, to New York's Hit Factory studio to record some new songs he had been working on that summer. The first track recorded was Message To The Universe, a slightly modified version of a tune the band had performed at Woodstock. Hendrix would continue to reshape the tune over the next few months, eventually giving it a new title, Message To Love, and performing it live at Madison Square Garden on January 1st, 1970 with bassist Billy Cox and drummer Buddy Miles. That performance was released as the album Band Of Gypsys.

Artist:    Who
Title:    "See Me, Feel Me"
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    Decca
Year:    1969
    One of the best-known songs from the Who's 1969 rock opera Tommy is We're Not Gonna Take It, with its famous "See Me, Feel Me" section. The track serves as the grand finale for the album and was the only part of the Who's performance of Tommy at Woodstock to be included in D.A. Pennebacker's film of the festival. In october or 1970, over a year after the original album came out, the last portion of the track, retitled "See Me, Feel Me" (quotation marks included), was released as a single.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Love You To
Source:    European import LP: Revolver
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Parlophone/EMI
Year:    1966
    Following the release of Rubber Soul in December of 1965, Beatle George Harrison began to make a serious effort to learn to play the Sitar, studying under the master, Ravi Shankar. Along with the instrument itself, Harrison studied Eastern forms of music. His first song written in the modal form favored by Indian composers was Love You To, from the Revolver album. The recording also features Indian percussion instruments and suitably spiritual lyrics.

Artist:    George Harrison
Title:    Ski-ing
Source:    CD: Wonderwall Music
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Apple
Year:    1968
    Starting in 1966 George Harrison showed an intense interest in the music of sitarist Ravi Shankar, and in Indian classical music in general, even to the point of learning to play the sitar himself. His first composition along those lines was Love You To, from the Revolver album, followed in 1967 by Within You Without You from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. In 1968 Harrison took it a step further by composing and performing music for the soundtrack of a film by director Joe Massot called called Wonderwall. The film itself dealt with a wall separating two apartments occupied by individuals from extremely different backgrounds (a lonely college professor and a Vogue model), and a small gap in the wall itself creating a bridge between the two. Harrison used the film as a springboard to fuse music from Eastern (Indian classical) and Western (rock) traditions, introducing Western audiences to various Indian instruments in the process. The album, Wonderwall Music, was Harrison's first solo project as well as the first album released on the Apple label (predating the White album by several weeks). The album featured several guest musicians, including Eric Clapton, who is probably the lead guitarist on Ski-ing, the shortest track on the album. Although Wonderwall Music was not a commercial success at the time of its release, it has since come to be highly regarded as a forerunner of both electronica and world music.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Think For Yourself
Source:    CD: Rubber Soul
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Capitol/EMI
Year:    1965
    By the end of 1965 George Harrison was writing an average of two songs per Beatles album. On Rubber Soul, however, one of his two songs was deleted from the US version of the album and appeared on 1966's Yesterday...And Today LP instead. The remaining Harrison song on Rubber Soul was Think For Yourself. Harrison later said that he was still developing his songwriting at this point and that bandmate John Lennon had helped write Think For Yourself.

Artist:    Standells
Title:    Twitchin'
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Larry Tamblyn
Label:    Sundazed
Year:    1963
    One of the earliest Standells recordings was an instrumental called Twitchin'. The song, written by guitarist Larry Tamblyn, was recorded in 1963, but sat on the shelf until 2014, when it was selected to be released as the B side of a newly discovered live version of their greatest hit, Dirty Water.

Artist:    Nashville Teens
Title:    Tobacco Road
Source:    Mono CD: British Beat (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    John D. Loudermilk
Label:    KTel (original label: London)
Year:    1964
    The Nashville Teens were not teens. Nor were they from Nashville. In fact, they were one of the original British Invasion bands. Their version of John D. Loudermilk's Tobacco Road was a huge international hit in the summer of 1964. The lead guitar parts on the recording are the work of studio musician Jimmy Page.

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    Pushin' Too Hard
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released on LP: The Seeds and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Sky Saxon
Label:    Rhino (original label: GNP Crescendo)
Year:    1965
    Pushin' Too Hard was originally released as a single in 1965 (under the title You're Pushin' Too Hard), but did not make an immediate impression. The following year, however, the tune started getting some local airplay on Los Angeles area stations. This in turn led to the band recording their first album, The Seeds, which was released in spring of 1966. A second Seeds LP, A Web Of Sound, hit L.A. record stores in the fall of the same year. Meanwhile, Pushin' Too Hard, which had been reissued with a different B side in mid-1966, started to get national airplay, hitting its peak position on the Billboard charts in February of 1967.

Artist:    Yardbirds
Title:    Shapes Of Things
Source:    Mono CD: The Best Of 60s Supergroups (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Samwell-Smith/Relf/McCarty
Label:    Priority (original label: Epic)
Year:    1966
    Unlike earlier Yardbirds hits, 1966's Shapes Of Things was written by members of the band. The song, featuring one of guitarist Jeff Beck's most distinctive solos, just barely missed the top 10 in the US, although it was a top 5 single in the UK.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Love Me Two Times
Source:    CD: Strange Days
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1967
    Although the second Doors album is sometimes dismissed as being full of tracks that didn't make the cut on the band's debut LP, the fact is that Strange Days contains some of the Doors' best-known tunes. One of those is Love Me Two Times, which was the second single released from the album. The song continues to get heavy airplay on classic rock stations.

Artist:    Blue Cheer
Title:    Parchman Farm
Source:    Dutch import LP: Vincebus Eruptum
Writer(s):    Mose Allison
Label:    Philips
Year:    1968
    If the release of the first Black Sabbath album in early 1970 marks the birth of heavy metal, then the release of the first Blue Cheer album in 1968 may be considered the point of conception for the form. Certainly, in terms of pure volume, Cheer was unequalled in their live performances (although the Grateful Dead's sound system had more wattage, Owsley Stanley used it judiciously to get the best sound quality as opposed to the sheer quantity of decibels favored by Blue Cheer), and managed to preserve that sense of loudness in the studio. Like Black Sabbath, the members of Blue Cheer had more than a passing familiarity with the blues as well, as evidenced by their inclusion of an old Mose Allison tune, Parchman Farm, on their debut LP, Vincebus Eruptum (the album included a cover of B.B. King's Rock Me, Baby as well). Contrary to rumors, guitarist Leigh Stephens did not go deaf and kill himself (although he did leave Blue Cheer after the band's second LP, moving to England and releasing a somewhat distortion-free solo album in 1969).

Artist:    Grateful Dead
Title:    Dark Star (single version)
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Garcia/Hunter
Label:    Rhino (original label: Warner Brothers)
Year:    1968
    Studio recording. Single version. Shortest Dark Star ever.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Martha (mono single version)
Source:    Mono CD: After Bathing At Baxter's
Writer(s):    Paul Kantner
Label:    RCA/BMG Heritage
Year:    1967
    Jefferson Airplane made no secret of their residence at 2400 Fulton Street in San Francisco. In fact, the place was a known hangout for various freaks, acid-heads and hippy types. One the hangers-on, a young heiress, was the inspiration for Martha, a song from the band's third LP, After Bathing At Baxter's. The song was also released as the B side to Watch Her Ride and used in a promotional film shown on a Perry Como special in 1967. The film, showing the band members cavorting  in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, uses various editing techniques to make the individual members appear, disappear and jump from place to place as well as speed up and slow down, making it one of the first true rock videos.

Artist:    Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title:    Born On The Bayou
Source:    LP: Bayou Country
Writer(s):    John Fogerty
Label:    Fantasy
Year:    1968
    If there is any single song that sums up what Creedence Clearwater Revival was all about, it could very well be Born On The Bayou, the opening track of CCR's second LP, Bayou Country. The song, which was written by John Fogerty late at night, became the opening for nearly every Creedence concert over the next few years, and is considered by many to be the band's signature song. Oddly enough, John Fogerty had never set foot on a bayou in his life when he wrote the song, but had always been a fan of the movie Swamp Fever, as well as having a fascination with "every other bit of southern bayou information that had entered my imagination from the time I was born."

Artist:    Canned Heat
Title:    Parthenogenesis
Source:    British import CD: Living The Blues
Writer(s):    Canned Heat
Label:    BGO (original label: Liberty)
Year:    1968
    It is extremely unlikely that the members of Canned Heat had the literal meaning of the word parthenogenesis (a natural form of asexual reproduction in which growth and development of embryos occur without fertilization by sperm) in mind when they decided to use it as the title for perhaps the most experiment piece in the history of recorded blues. Parthenogenesis (the Canned Heat track) runs nearly 20 minutes and takes up most of side two of their 1968 double LP Living The Blues. It begins with Nebulosity, featuring Al "Blind Owl" Wilson on jaw-harp, accompanied by guest guitarist John Fahey, which eases into Wilson's solo interpretation of Muddy Waters's Rollin' And Tumblin', also on jaw-harp. From there, Parthenogenesis continues with another Wilson solo piece, this one featuring a multi-tracked Owl on four harmonicas and one guitar. Next, it's Robert "The Bear" Hite's turn with a tune called Bear Wires, a tribute to his friend John Mayall, who plays piano on the piece. The next part of Parthogenesis is Snooky Flowers, basically a drum solo from Fito de la Parre, with additional congas provided by Larry "The Mole" Taylor, the band's bassist. Guitarist Henry Vestine then takes center stage with Sunflower Power, which features five multitracked guitars. Wilson returns, this time on chromatic harp with Raga Kafi, which leads into Vestine's Icebag. Parthenogenesis concludes with a reprise of Nebulosity, this time titled Childhood's End. As strange as it may sound, Parthenogenesis is not the longest track on Living The Blues, as the entire third and fourth side of the original album are taken up by a live performance of Refried Boogie that runs 41 minutes total.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    You Really Got Me
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Golden Days Of British Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Ray Davies
Label:    Sire (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1964
    Although the Beatles touched off the British Invasion, it was the sheer in-your-face simplicity of You Really Got Me, recorded by an "upstart band of teenagers" from London's Muswell Hill district named the Kinks and released in August of 1964 that made the goal of forming your own band and recording a hit single seem to be a viable one. And sure enough, within a year garages and basements all across America were filled with guitars, amps, drums and aspiring high-school age musicians, some of whom would indeed get their own records played on the radio.

Artist:    Otis Redding
Title:    Respect
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer:    Otis Redding
Label:    Volt
Year:    1965
    Released well over a year before Aretha Franklin's version, Otis Redding's Respect was a hit on the R&B charts and managed to crack the lower reaches of the mainstream charts as well. Although not as well known as Franklin's version, the Redding track has its own unique energy and is a classic in its own right. The track, like most of Redding's recordings, features the Memphis Group rhythm section and the Bar-Kays on horns.

Artist:    Blues Magoos
Title:    One By One
Source:    LP: Psychedelic Lollipop
Writer(s):    Gilbert/Theilhelm
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1966
    In 1966 a hit single was the primary measure of an artists' success, which is probably why One By One, from the Blues Magoos' first LP, Psychedelic Lollipop, sounds like it was written specifically with that in mind. In fact, after the first single from their second LP flopped, the band went back into the studio and recorded a new version of One By One that was indeed issued as the band's next single. The song was written by bassist Ron Gilbert and guitarist Peppy Theilhelm, who was 16 at the time the original version of One By One was recorded.

Artist:    First Edition
Title:    Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released on LP: The First Edition and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Mickey Newbury
Label:    Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    In 1968, former New Christy Mistrels members Kenny Rogers and Mike Settle decided to form a psychedelic rock band, the First Edition. Although Settle was the official leader on the first album, it was Rogers who would emerge as the star of the band, even to the point of eventually changing the band's name to Kenny Rogers and the First Edition. That change reflected a shift from psychedelic folk-rock to country flavored pop that would eventually propel Rogers to superstar status.

Artist:    Fairport Convention
Title:    Time Will Show The Wiser
Source:    British import CD: Fairport Convention
Writer(s):    Emmitt Rhodes
Label:    Polydor
Year:    1968
    Fairport Convention was originally marketed as "the British Jefferson Airplane", and with good reason. Like the Airplane, Fairport featured two lead vocalists, Ian MacDonald and Judy Dyble, and even appeared on the same playbill as the Airplane at the first Isle Of Wight festival in 1968. There was a similarity in the two bands' repertoire as well. Like the Airplane, Fairport relied heavily on cover versions of songs by American songwriters in their early days, and their debut LP featured five of them, including the album's opening track, Emmitt Rhodes' Time Will Show The Wiser. Not long after the album was released Dyble left the group, to be replaced by Sandy Denny, and Fairport Convention began a transition that would ultimately make them one of the most successful British folk revival bands.

Artist:    Sons Of Champlin
Title:    Rooftop
Source:    British import CD: Loosen Up Naturally/Follow Your Heart/The Sons (originally released on LP: Loosen Up Naturally)
Writer(s):    Bill Champlin
Label:    BGO (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1969
    While still in high school in Mill Valley, California in 1965, guitarist/vocalist/keyboardist Bill Champlin hooked up with a band called the Opposite Six, one of the few blue-eyed soul bands on the West Coast. The group did pretty well until both the drummer and the bass player were drafted by the US Army, causing the Opposite Six to fall apart. Champlin, along with saxophone player Tim Cain, soon formed a new band, which after a brief flirtation with the name Masterbeats became the first incarnation of the Sons Of Champlin. The Opposite Six had always featured a horn section, a practice that Champlin continued with his new band. The group signed to Trident Records in 1967, recording an album that remained unreleased until 1999. The following year they got a deal with Capitol Records, and recorded their first album locally at Golden State Recorders.  One of the highlights of the double-LP, Loosen Up Naturally,  was a tune called Rooftop, which is fairly representative of the band's sound. The album did well enough to allow the band to record several more albums before Champlin left to replace Terry Kath in Chicago. Following his departure from that band a few years back, Champlin formed a new Sons Of Champlin band that is still performing regularly.

Artist:    Pentangle
Title:    Cruel Sister
Source:    British Import CD: Cruel Sister
Writer(s):    Trad., arr. Pentangle
Label:    Sanctuary (original US label: Reprise)
Year:    1970
    Nearly four years after their self-titled debut LP was released, Pentangle was one of the most (if not the most) popular British folk music based bands in the world. The members of Pentangle, however, were beginning to feel constricted by the expectations that came with their own success and were determined to remain true to their musical roots, regardless of the commercial consequences. With this in mind they set about to record their fourth LP, Cruel Sister. The title track of the album demonstrates the band's willingness to try out new ideas such as extended jazz-style improvisations on a traditional folk tune. Cruel Sister also marked guitarist John Renbourne's first use of an electric guitar on an album, an ironic move considering the entire album was made up of traditional songs.

Artist:    Ten Years After
Title:    Don't Want You Woman
Source:    British import CD: Ten Years After
Writer(s):    Alvin Lee
Label:    Deram
Year:    1967
    Ten Years After takes a shot at rockabilly on Don't Want You Woman, from their 1967 debut album. The song features songwriter Alvin Lee on acoustic guitar and vocals, Leo Lyons on stand up bass and Ric Lee using the brushes on drums. Keyboardist Chick Churchill sits this one out.

Artist:     Jethro Tull
Title:     Round
Source:     CD: This Was
Writer:     Anderson/Abrahams/Cornish/Bunker
Label:     Chrysalis/Capitol
Year:     1968
     At only a minute in length, Round is the shortest Jethro Tull track on record, as well as being the only one credited to the entire band. It was originally tacked onto the end of the band's debut LP, This Was. Now it's been tacked onto the end of this week's show.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2130 (starts 7/19/21)

    This week's show starts off as an orderly progression of tunes, but soon devolves into utter chaos...and it's an improvement!

Artist:    Crow
Title:    Gonna Leave A Mark
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Larry Weigand
Label:    Amaret
Year:    1969
    Crow was formed in 1967 as South 40, using that name in their native Minneapolis until signing a contract with Amaret Records in 1969.   
Although it was a hit in 1970, Crow's most famous song, Evil Woman (Don't Play Your Games With Me), was actually released in 1969 on the band's debut LP, Crow Music. Like many of the band's tunes, the B side of that single, Gonna Leave A Mark, was written by bassist Larry Weigand. Other members of the band included Weigand's brother Dick on guitar, David Wagner on vocals, Kink Middlemist on keyboards and Denny Craswell on drums.

Artist:    Neil Young/Crazy Horse
Title:    Cinnamon Girl
Source:    CD: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1969
    My favorite Neil Young song has always been Cinnamon Girl. I suspect this is because the band I was in the summer after I graduated from high school used an amped-up version of the song as our show opener (imagine Cinnamon Girl played like I Can See For Miles and you get a general idea of how it sounded). If we had ever recorded an album, we probably would have used that arrangement as our first single. I finally got to see Neil Young perform the song live (from the 16th row even) with Booker T. and the MGs as his stage band in the mid-1990s. It was worth the wait.

Artist:    Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young
Title:    Country Girl
Source:    LP: déjà vu
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1970
    The second Crosby, Stills and Nash album, déjà vu, was enhanced by the addition of singer/songwriter/guitarist Neil Young, along with bassist Dallas Taylor and drummer Greg Reeves. The LP itself was printed on textured cardboard with gold offset lettering, giving the package a unique look. But it was the music itself that made the album one of the top sellers of 1970, with three singles going into the top 40. One of the non-single tracks was Country Girl, a medley of three uncompleted Neil Young songs that would not have been out of place on a Young solo album.

Artist:    Leon Russell and friends
Title:    Medley: Jumpin' Jack Flash/Youngblood
Source:    CD: The Concert For Bangla Desh
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richard/Lieber/Stoller/Pomus
Label:    Capitol/Apple
Year:    1971
    Leon Russell's portion of The Concert For Bangla Desh is unique in a couple of ways. First off, the Oklahoma-born singer/songwriter/arranger/producer chose to do a medley of two cover songs, the Rolling Stones' Jumpin' Jack Flash and the Coasters' Youngblood. These were the only non-original tunes performed at the concert. Additionally, Russell brought in veteran guitarist Don Preston, a longtime associate of Russell who career also dates back to the 1950s, and bassist Carl Radle, who, like Russell, had recently participated in Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs & Englishmen tour, album and movie. Although some critics found fault with Russell's performance, calling in incongruous with the rest of the proceedings, audience members, record buyers and filmgoers all considered it a high point of the entire concert.

Artist:    Elton John
Title:    Honky Cat
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    John/Taupin
Label:    Uni
Year:    1972
    Elton John hit the top of the US charts with his fifth LP, Honky Chateau, in 1972. It was the first of seven consecutive #1 albums for the singer/songwriter and included two major hit singles. The second of these was the album's opening track, Honky Cat, which made the top 10 that same year, despite having a length of over five minutes at a time when most radio stations still observed the three and a half minute standard for top 40 singles.

Artist:    Procol Harum
Title:    Conquistador (live)
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Brooker/Reid
Label:    A&M
Year:    1972
    Although Conquistador was originally recorded for the first Procol Harum album in 1967, it was the 1972 live version with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra that became one of the band's biggest hits, second only to A Whiter Shade Of Pale.

Artist:    David Bowie
Title:    Ziggy Stardust
Source:    CD: The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars
Writer(s):    David Bowie
Label:    Ryko (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:    1972
    Although never released as a single, Ziggy Stardust, the centerpiece of The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars, is in many ways the most important song in David Bowie's career. It transformed Bowie from an eccentric English artist whose music vacillated between folk and rock (with other things thrown in) to one of the biggest superstars in the history of popular music. The song itself manages to tell the entire life story of the title character in just a little over three minutes, and has appeared on several "best of" lists in the nearly 50 years since it was originally released in 1972.

Artist:    Beck, Bogert & Appice
Title:    I'm So Proud
Source:    LP: Beck, Bogert & Appice
Writer(s):    Curtis Mayfield
Label:    Epic
Year:    1973
    In July of 1969, guitarist Jeff Beck jammed with two members of Vanilla Fudge, bassist Tim Bogert and drummer Carmine Appice. He immediately decided that he wanted them both as members of his own band, but, due to them being under contract, he was not able to publicly announce his decision. That November, however, Beck was involved in a car accident that put all of his plans on hold for a year. The following year Bogert and Appice started another band, Cactus, that lasted until 1972. Meanwhile Beck, who by early 1971 was ready to resume his career, formed a new version of the Jeff Beck Group with entirely different members. This group also lasted until 1972, when Beck, Bogert & Appice finally got together officially as a band. They released one self-titled LP in 1973 to mixed reviews and split up soon afterward. Although some tracks on the album, such as Beck's version of Stevie Wonder's Superstition, were well-received, most, such as the cover of Curtis Mayfield's I'm So Proud, suffered from weak lead vocals from Appice, despite having some nice Beck guitar work.

Artist:    Ten Years After
Title:    Spoonful
Source:    European import CD: Undead (bonus track)
Writer(s):    Willie Dixon
Label:    Deram
Year:    1968
    The late 1960s saw the rise of a British blues-rock scene that brought fame to Peter Green, Dave Edmunds and other talented guitarists. One of the first bands to release an album in this sub-genre was Ten Years After, led by Alvin Lee. Their debut LP, released in 1967, included several cover tunes, including Spoonful, which had been recorded the previous year by Cream (in studio form). Ten Years After also recorded a live version of the song for their second LP, Undead, but decided not include it on the album, possibly because Cream's Wheels Of Fire had recently been released, with their live version of Spoonful getting a lot of publicity, as well as airplay on progressive rock radio stations in the US.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Who Scared You
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Morrison/Krieger
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1969
    Recorded during sessions for the Doors' fourth album, The Soft Parade, Who Scared You was issued as the B side of a Jim Morrison/Robby Krieger collaboration called Wishful Sinful in March of 1969. Wishful Sinful, however, performed poorly on the charts and was quickly taken out of circulation. When The Soft Parade was finally released in July of that year, Wishful Sinful was included on the album. Who Scared You, on the other hand, was nowhere to be found, at least until 1972, when it appeared on the double-LP compilation Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mine. Given its unique history, it's no wonder that Who Scared You is often considered the most obscure Doors track released during Morrison's tenure with the group.

Artist:    Steely Dan
Title:    Night By Night
Source:    LP: Pretzel Logic
Writer(s):    Becker/Fagen
Label:    MCA (original label: ABC)
Year:    1974
    Night By Night, the second track on the third Steely Dan LP, Pretzel Logic, was written to be the album's lead single. Instead, they went with Rikki Don't Lose That Number. It was obviously a better choice, as Rikki ended up being Steely Dan's biggest hit. Still, Night By Night is a solid song that too often gets overlooked in favor of the band's many outstanding tracks.

Artist:    Spirit
Title:    New Dope In Town
Source:    German import LP: Underground '70 (originally released on LP: Clear)
Writer(s):    Andes/California/Cassidy/Ferguson/Locke
Label:    CBS (original US label: Columbia)
Year:    1969
    The third Spirit album, Clear, is generally considered the weakest of the four albums released by the band's original lineup. The main reason for this is fatigue. The group had released two albums in 1968, along with providing the soundtrack for the film Model Shop in early 1969 and constantly touring throughout the entire period. This left them little time to develop the material that would be included on Clear. There are a few strong tracks on the LP, however, among them New Dope In Town, which closes out the original LP. Like Elijah, from their debut album, New Dope In Town is credited to the entire band, and was included on a CBS Records sampler album called Underground '70 that was released in Germany (on purple vinyl that glows under a black light, even) around Christmastime.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2129 (starts 7/12/21)

    This week we manage to squeeze in 35 tracks, including a set of Rolling Stones songs from their most psychedelic period.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Tomorrow Never Knows
Source:    LP: Revolver
Writer:    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple/Capitol/EMI
Year:    1966
    A few years ago I started to compile an (admittedly subjective) list of the top psychedelic songs ever recorded. Although I never finished ranking the songs, one of the top contenders for the number one spot was Tomorrow Never Knows. The recording is one of the first to use studio techniques such as backwards masking on the lead guitar track and has been hailed as a studio masterpiece.

Artist:     Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:     Purple Haze
Source:     CD: Are You Experienced?
Writer:     Jimi Hendrix
Label:     MCA (original US label: Reprise)
Year:     1967
     Purple Haze has one of the most convoluted release histories of any song ever recorded. Originally issued in the UK as a single on the Track label, it scored high on the British charts. When Reprise got the rights to release the first Hendrix album, Are You Experienced, in the US they chose to replace the first track on the album with Purple Haze, moving the original opening track, Foxy Lady, to side two of the LP. Reprise also released Purple Haze as a single in June of 1967, where it spent eight weeks on the Hot 100 chart, peaking at #65. The song next appeared on Track's 1968 Smash Hits album, which in Europe was on the Polydor label. The following year Reprise included the song on its own version of Smash Hits. The Reprise version of Are You Experience remained in print throughout the 1970s and 1980s, appearing on cassette, 8-track, and pre-recorded reel to reel tapes as well as CDs. ln the early 1990s MCA acquired the rights to the Hendrix catalog and re-issued Are You Experienced with the tracks restored to the UK ordering, but preceded by the six non-album sides (including Purple Haze) that had originally been released prior to the album. Most recently, the Hendrix Family Trust has again changed labels and the US version of Are You Experienced is once again in print, this time on Sony's Legacy label. This means that Purple Haze now has the distinction of having been released by all three of the world's major record companies.

Artist:    Bubble Puppy
Title:    Lonely
Source:    British import CD: A Gathering Of Promises (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Prince/Cox
Label:    Charly (original label: International Artists)
Year:    1969
    The Bubble Puppy came into existence in 1967, when two former members of the legendary Corpus Christie,Texas garage band the Bad Seeds, guitarist Rod Prince and keyboardist/bassist Roy Cox, relocated to San Antonio, recruiting guitarist Todd Potter and drummer Craig Root to form the new band. Success came quickly in the form of the band's very first gig, opening for the Who at the San Antonio Colosseum. After David Fore replaced Root in the band, the group relocated to Austin, where they got a steady gig at the Vulcan Gas Company. By 1968 the Bubble Puppy was traveling all over Texas for gigs, and late in the year got a contract with Houston-based International Artists, a label that had already gained notoriety by signing the 13th Floor Elevators and Red Crayola. After releasing a surprise top 40 hit, Hot Smoke And Sassafras (with Lonely on the B side) in December of 1968, the band got to work on a full album, A Gathering Of Promises. International Artists failed to get the album out quickly enough to capitilize of the popularity of Hot Smoke And Sassafras, and further hurt the band's chance of success by refusing to grant licensing rights on the single to Apple Records for European release. By 1970 the band and the label had parted company, with the Bubble Puppy relocating to Los Angeles and changing their name to Demian.

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    Subterranean Homesick Blues
Source:    CD: Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Bringing It All Back Home)
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1965
    1965 was the year Bob Dylan went electric, and got his first top 40 hit, Subterranean Homesick Blues, in the process. Although the song, which also led off his Bringing It All Back Home album, stalled out in the lower 30s, it did pave the way for electrified cover versions of Dylan songs by the Byrds and Turtles and Dylan's own Like A Rolling Stone, which would revolutionize top 40 radio. A line from the song itself, "you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows", became the inspiration for a radical offshoot of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) that called itself the Weathermen (later the Weather Underground).

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Four Until Late
Source:    LP: Fresh Cream
Writer(s):    Robert Johnson
Label:    Atco
Year:    1966
    By the time Cream was formed, Eric Clapton had already established himself as one of the world's premier blues-rock guitarists. He had not, however, done much singing, as the bands he had worked with all had strong vocalists: Keith Relf with the Yardbirds and John Mayall with the Bluesbreakers. With Cream, however, Clapton finally got a chance to do some vocals of his own. Most of these are duets with bassist Jack Bruce, who handled the bulk of Cream's lead vocals. Clapton did get to sing lead on a few Cream songs, however. One of the earliest ones was the band's updated version of Robert Johnson's Four Until Late, from the Fresh Cream album.

Artist:    Peanut Butter Conspiracy
Title:    Too Many Do
Source:    CD: The Peanut Butter Conspiracy Is Spreading /The Great Conspiracy (originally released on LP: The Great Conspiracy)
Writer(s):    Alan Brackett
Label:    Collectables (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1967
    After a pop-driven first album that was dominated by producer Gary Usher, the Peanut Butter Conspiracy were able to sound more like their live performances on the follow-up LP, The Great Conspiracy. The longest track on the album was Too Many Do, which became one of the first six-minute songs to get airplay, mostly on the new "underground" FM stations that were beginning to pop up in large cities and smaller college towns across the country.

Artist:    Hollies
Title:    Bus Stop
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Graham Gouldman
Label:    Imperial
Year:    1966
    The Hollies already had a string of British hit singles when they recorded Bus Stop in 1966. The song, written by Graham Gouldman (later of 10cc), was their first song to make the US top 10, peaking at #5. Gouldman later said the idea for the song came to him as he was riding on a bus. His father, playwrite Hyme Gouldman, provided the song's opening line "Bus stop, wet day, she's there, I say please share my umbrella" and Graham built the rest of the song around it.

Artist:    Mitch Ryder And The Detroit Wheels
Title:    Devil With A Blue Dress/Good Golly Miss Molly
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Stevenson/Long/Marascalco/Blackwell
Label:    Eric (original label: DynaVoice)
Year:    1966
    When it came down to old-fashioned get-out-on-the-dance-floor blue-collar rock 'n' roll, there was no local scene that could match the Detroit scene, and the unquestioned kings of Detroit rock 'n' roll in 1966 were Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels. Ryder's boys cranked out hit after hit, many of which made the national charts, including Little Latin Lupe Lu, Sock It To Me-Baby!, and their biggest hit of all: Devil With A Blue Dress/Good Golly Miss Molly. Rock on!

Artist:    Bobby Fuller Four
Title:    I Fought The Law
Source:    CD: I Fought The Law-The Best Of The Bobby Fuller Four (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Sonny Curtis
Label:    Rhino (original label: Mustang)
Year:    1965
    I Fought The Law is one of the truly iconic songs in rock history. Originally recorded by the Crickets in 1959 after Sonny Curtis, who wrote the song, had joined the band as lead guitarist and taken over lead vocals after the death of Buddy Holly, the song became a national hit when it was covered by the Bobby Fuller Four in late 1965. The song hit the #9 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1966, and has since been recorded by numerous artists from a variety of genres, including the Clash, Hank Williams, Jr., the Dead Kennedys and Bruce Springsteen, who has made it a staple of his live show over the years.
Artist:    John Sebastian
Title:    Red-Eye Express
Source:    LP: The Big Ball (originally released on LP: John B. Sebastian)
Writer(s):    John Sebastian
Label:    Warner Brothers (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1970
    John Sebastian's first solo album is one of those cases where the story behind the album is more interesting than the album itself. Sebastian had been the lead vocalist and primary songwriter for the Lovin' Spoonful during their period of greatest success (1965-67), but had left the group in early 1968 to pursue a solo career. The band tried to carry on without him, but after a string of commercial failures disbanded in early 1969. Meanwhile, Sebastian had been putting together tracks like Red-Eye Express for his debut solo album with the help of many of his old friends from his pre-Spoonful days as a struggling folk singer in New York's Greenwich Village, including (among others) David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash, several months before they began recording together as a group. By early 1969 the album was ready to be released, but a series of unexpected problems delayed the album for over a year. The most pertinent of these problems was the fact that MGM records felt that the Lovin' Spoonful still owed them one more album under their previous contract with Kama Sutra Records, which had been distributed by MGM. Since the Spoonful no longer existed, MGM wanted to release Sebastian's album in its place, despite the fact that Sebastian had left the band the previous year. Sebastian and his manager, Bob Cavallo, felt differently, and made a deal with producer Paul Rothchild to get the album released on the Reprise label. Reprise head Mo Ostin bought out Sebastian's Kama Sutra contract and prepared to release the album, John B. Sebastian, in spring of 1969. MGM fought the move, however, and the album's release was delayed until 1970, when the album actually appeared on both labels at the same time (albeit with different cover art). Eventually Reprise ended up with the exclusive rights to the album, and the MGM version was withdrawn. During all this legal wrangling Sebastian made an unscheduled appearance at Woodstock (he was there as an audience member, but got drafted to fill time on the second day of the festival following a major rainstorm that left the stage covered in water, making it impossible for electric instruments to be used until it could be cleaned up), which enhanced his reputation and generated interest in the upcoming album, which eventually peaked at the #20 spot on the Billboard album charts.

Artist:    Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
Title:    Everybody I Love You
Source:    CD: déjà vu
Writer(s):    Stills/Young
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1970
    The last track on the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young album déjà vu is a Stephen Stills/Neil Young collaboration that sets the stage for the Stills/Young band a couple of years later. Stylistically it's pretty easy to figure out which part of Everybody I Love You was written by Stephen Stills and which part was written by Neil Young. What's interesting is how well the two parts actually fit together. As far as I know this is actually the first songwriting collaboration between the two, despite being bandmates in Buffalo Springfield since 1966 (and knowing each other even longer).

Artist:    Guess Who
Title:    8:15
Source:    CD: American Woman
Writer(s):    Bachman/Cummings
Label:    Buddha/BMG (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:    1970
    The most successful album for the Guess Who was American Woman, released in 1970. In additional to the three top 10 singles on the album (No Time, No Sugar Tonight and the title track), the album featured many strong tracks, including 8:15, which midway through the song breaks into (in the words of lead vocalist Burton Cummings) "some real percussive spice where it's sorely needed", courtesy of drummer Garry Peterson.
Artist:    Missing Links
Title:    You're Driving Me Insane
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in Australia as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Baden Hutchins
Label:    Rhino (original label: Philips)
Year:    1965
    Long before AC/DC emerged from Down Under, the Missing Links were known as "Australia's wildest group". The name Missing Links was first used in 1964 by a group that released only one single in 1964. The following year an entirely new lineup made up of friends and associates of the original group began using the name, releasing three singles (the first of which was You're Driving Me Insane) and an album before disbanding in April of1966.
Artist:    Starfires
Title:    I Never Loved Her
Source:    Mono LP: Pebbles Vol. 8 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Freddie Fields
Label:    BFD (original label: G.I.)
Year:    1965
    The name Starfires has long been associated with rock 'n' roll, albeit with a number of different bands over the years. The name was probably first used in the late 1950s by a band from Long Beach, California, and was also the original name of the Cleveland, Ohio, band that became famous as the Outsiders. But the most revered of the various Starfires may well be the mid-60s Los Angeles garage band released three singles before disbanding. One of these, I Never Loved Her, has long been sought after by collectors, and copies of the record have been known to sell for over a thousand dollars apiece. Luckily, the song has been included on various collections over the years, including both the LP and CD versions of Pebbles, Volume 8.

Artist:    Birds
Title:    No Good Without You Baby
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    William Stevenson
Label:    Rhino (original label: Decca)
Year:    1965
    Although they only released four singles from 1964-66 (the third of which being No Good Without You), the Birds were among the better UK bands not to get attention outside of their native land. Formed in 1963, the band was first known as the R&B Bohemians and then the Thunderbirds before shortening their name to the Birds. When the US Byrds came along, the Birds actually tried to sue them for using their name. What the group is probably best known for, however, is launching the career of guitarist Ron Wood, who would later join the Faces and is currently a member of some obscure British rock and roll band called the Rolling Stones.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Strange Days
Source:    LP: Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mine (originally released on LP: Strange Days)
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    One of the first rock albums to not picture the band members on the front cover was the Doors' second LP, Strange Days. Instead, the cover featured several circus performers doing various tricks on a city street, with the band's logo appearing on a poster on the wall of a building. The album itself contains some of the band's most memorable recordings, including the title tune, which tends to show up on just about every "best of" collection of Doors tracks ever released, despite having never been issued as a single.

Artist:    New Dawn
Title:    Slave Of Desire
Source:    British import CD: With Love-A Pot Of Flowers (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Leonti/Supnet
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Mainstream)
Year:    1967
    New Dawn, from the small town of Morgan Hill, California (a few miles south of San Jose), was not really a band. Rather, it was a trio of singer/songwriters who utilized the services of various local bands for live performances and studio musicians for their recordings. Schoolmates Tony Supnet, who also played guitar, Mike Leonti and Donnie Hill formed the group in 1961, originally calling themselves the Countdowns. They released a pair of singles on the local Link label, the second of which was recorded at San Francisco's Golden State Recorders. It was around that time that Bob Shad, owner of Mainstream Records, was in the Bay Area on a talent search. Shad was holding his auditions at Golden State, giving bands that had already recorded there an automatic in. Shad was impressed enough to offer the trio a contract, which resulted in a pair of singles using the name New Dawn. Although most of the group's material could best be described as light pop, the B side of the second single, a tune called Slave Of Desire, was much grittier. Leonti is the lead vocalist on the track, which, like the group's other recordings, utilized the talents of local studio musicians.

Artist:    Vagrants
Title:    Respect
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Otis Redding
Label:    Rhino (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    Sounding a lot like the Rascals, the Vagrants were a popular Long Island band led by singer Peter Sabatino and best remembered for being the group that had guitarist Leslie Weinstein in it. Weinstein would change his last name to West and record a solo album called Mountain before forming the band of the same name. This version of Respect is fairly faithful to the original Otis Redding version. Unfortunately for the Vagrants, Aretha Franklin would release her radically rearranged version of the song just a few weeks after the Vagrants, relegating their version of the tune (and the Vagrants themselves) to footnote status.

Artist:    Morning Dew
Title:    Crusader's Smile
Source:    British import CD: Ah Feel Like Ahcid (originally released in US on LP: Morning Dew)
Writer(s):    Mal Robinson
Label:    Zonophone (original label: Roulette)
Year:    1970
    In the late 1960s Roulette Records was pretty much wholly supported by one act: Tommy James And The Shondells, who had cranked out a string of hit records starting with Hanky Panky in 1966 (the record had actually been released in 1964). There were other artists recording for the label, however, but for the most part their efforts went unnoticed by the record buying public. This is a bit of a shame, as some of those artists, such as Morning Dew, were actually pretty good. The Topeka, Kansas band took its name from the Tim Rose song made famous by the Grateful Dead, and on most tracks sounded pretty much exactly as one would expect. The group's only LP, released in 1970, started off on a bit more energetic note with the song Crusader's Smile, which was written by band leader Mal Robinson.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    She's A Rainbow
Source:    LP: Their Satanic Majesties Request
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1967
    The only song from the Rolling Stones' Their Satanic Majesties Request album to get significant airplay in the US was She's A Rainbow, released as a single in the fall of '67.  Oddly enough it was the single's B side, 2,000 Light Years From Home, that charted in Germany. Another song from the album, In Another Land, had been released in the US a week before the album came out and was marketed as the first Bill Wyman solo song (with a Rolling Stones B side), but only made it to the #87 spot on the Billboard singles chart. This perhaps is a reflection of the uncertainty surrounding the Rolling Stones' role in the world of rock at the time. That uncertainty would soon be dispelled when the band hired a new producer, Jimmy Miller, the following year and released Jumpin' Jack Flash, an undisputed classic that helped define the band for years to come.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Sympathy For The Devil
Source:    CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released on LP: Beggars Banquet)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1968
    Beggar's Banquet was a turning point for the Rolling Stones. They had just ended their association with Andrew Loog Oldham, who had produced all of their mid-60s records, and instead were working with Jimmy Miller, who was known for his association with Steve Winwood, both in his current band Traffic and the earlier Spencer Davis Group. Right from the opening bongo beats of Sympathy For The Devil, it was evident that this was the beginning of a new era for the bad boys of rock and roll. The song itself has gone on to be one of the defining tunes of album rock radio, and occupies the #32 spot on Rolling Stone magazine's "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" list.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Gomper
Source:    LP: Their Satanic Majesties Request
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1967
    Probably the most overtly psychedelic track ever recorded by the Rolling Stones, Gomper might best be described as a hippy love song with its references to nature, innocence and, of course, pyschedelic substances. Brian Jones makes one of his last significant contributions as a member of the band he founded, playing the dulcimer, as well as tablas, organ, pan flutes and various percussion instruments on the song.

Artist:    Simon and Garfunkel
Title:    The Sound Of Silence
Source:    CD: Collected Works (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Sounds Of Silence)
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1965
    The Sound Of Silence was originally an acoustic piece that was included on Simon and Garfunkel's 1964 debut album, Wednesday Morning 3AM. The album went nowhere and was soon deleted from the Columbia Records catalog. Simon and Garfunkel themselves went their separate ways, with Simon moving to London and recording a solo LP, the Paul Simon Songbook. While Simon was in the UK, producer Tom Wilson, who had been working with Bob Dylan on Highway 61 Revisited, pulled out the master tape of The Sound Of Silence and got some of the same musicians to add electric instruments to the existing recording. The song was released to local radio stations, where it garnered enough interest to get the modified recording released as a single. It turned out to be a huge hit, prompting Paul Simon to move back to the US and reunite with Art Garfunkel.

Artist:    Janis Ian
Title:    Pro-Girl
Source:    LP: Janis Ian
Writer(s):    Janis Ian
Label:    Polydor (original label: Verve Forecast)
Year:    1967
    It took guts for a fifteen-year-old to write and record a song that is basically an open letter to a prostitute. It took maturity to do it without either condoning or condemning that kind of life. Janis Ian displayed both with the song Pro-Girl on her 1967 debut LP.
Artist:    Tyrannosaurus Rex
Title:    The Seal Of Seasons
Source:    CD: Unicorn
Writer(s):    Marc Bolan
Label:    A&M (original label: Blue Thumb)
Year:    1969
    Nearly everyone is familiar with a song called Get It On (aka Bang A Gong), a huge hit in the early 70s by a group known as T-Rex. Not all that many people, however, are aware that the band was originally called Tyrannosaurus Rex, and consisted of only two members, Marc Bolan and Steve Peregrin Took. Tyrannosaurus Rex, in its original incarnation, was best described as a psychedelic folk duo with a stong emphasis on fantasy themes on songs like The Seal Of Seasons, which appeared on the group's third LP, Unicorn. Took split with Bolan following the release of Unicorn after Bolan refused to use any of Took's compositions on the next Tyrannosaurus Rex album, A Beard Of Stars. Bolan replaced Took with Mickey Finn, who would remain a member after T-Rex expanded to become an electric rock band.

Artist:    Blues Magoos
Title:    Albert Common Is Dead
Source:    Mono LP: Electric Comic Book
Writer(s):    Gilbert/Scala
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1967
    The second Blues Magoos LP, Electric Comic Book, was much in the same vein as their 1966 debut album, Psychedelic Lollipop, with a mix of fast and slow originals and a couple of cover songs, one of which was done in an extended rave-up style. The second side opener, Albert Common Is Dead, is a fast rocker (with a slowed down final chorus) about an average guy's decision to take to the road, leaving his former life behind. As many young people were doing exactly that during the summer of 1967, you might expect such a song to become somewhat of a soundtrack of its times, but with so many other songs filling that role, Albert Common Is Dead was largely overlooked by the listening public.

Artist:    Lemon Pipers
Title:    Green Tambourine
Source:    CD: The Best Of 60s Psychedelic Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Green Tambourine)
Writer(s):    Leka/Pinz
Label:    Priority (original label: Buddah)
Year:    1967
    Oxford, Ohio's Lemon Pipers have the distinction of being the first band to score a number one hit for the Buddah label. Unfortunately for the band, it was their only hit. Making it even worse is the fact that, although the Lemon Pipers themselves were a real band, they ended up being grouped in with several "bands" who were in fact studio creations by the Kazenetz/Katz production team that supplied Buddah with a steady stream of bubble-gum hits throughout 1968.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    The Walking Song
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Kaylan/Nichols
Label:    White Whale
Year:    1967
    When they weren't recording hit songs by professional songwriters, the Turtles were busy developing their own songwriting talents, albeit in a somewhat satirical direction. One early example is The Walking Song, which contrasts the older generation's obsession with material goods with a "stop and smell the roses" approach favored by the song's protagonist. This toungue-in-cheek style of writing would characterize the later careers of two of the band members, Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan, who, after performing with the Mothers at the Fillmore would become known as the Phlorescent Leech (later Flo) and Eddie.

Artist:    Blossom Toes
Title:    The Remarkable Saga Of The Frozen Dog
Source:    British import CD: We Are Ever So Clean
Writer(s):    Jim Cregan
Label:    Sunbeam (original label: Marmalade)
Year:    1968
    Originally known as the Ingoes, Blossom Toes were discovered playing in Paris (where they had released an EP) by Giorgio Gomelsky, manager of the Yardbirds, who signed them to his own label, Marmalade, in 1967. Everyone on the British music scene was talking about (and listening to) the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, trying to figure out how to apply the album's advanced production techniques to their own material, including Gomelsky and Blossom Toes. The result was an album called We Are Ever So Clean, one of the first post-Sgt. Pepper albums to be released in the UK. The album is considered one of the best examples of British psychedelic music, with the word "whimsical" showing up in most reviews. The term certainly applies to The Remarkable Saga Of The Frozen Dog, one of two pieces on the album written solely by drummer Jim Cregan (he is credited as co-writer on two others).

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Utterly Simple
Source:    CD: Heaven Is In Your Mind (originally released in UK on LP: Mr. Fantasy)
Writer(s):    Dave Mason
Label:    Island
Year:    1967
    Several tracks from Traffic's 1967 debut LP, Mr. Fantasy, were not included on the album's US counterpart, Heaven Is In Your Mind, which was released in early 1968. One of the missing tracks was Utterly Simple, a Dave Mason tune that features the sitar more prominently than any other Traffic recording. In fact, Mason himself was missing from the US album's cover photo, even after the album was retitled Mr. Fantasy with its second printing. Utterly Simple was finally made available in the US when both versions of the album were released on CD.
Artist:    Pink Floyd
Title:    Matilda Mother
Source:    CD: The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn
Writer(s):    Syd Barrett
Label:    Capitol (original label: Tower)
Year:    1967
    Listening to tracks like Matilda Mother, I can't help but wonder where Pink Floyd might have gone if Syd Barrett had not succumbed to mental illness following the release of the band's first LP, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, in 1967. Unlike the rest of the band members, Barrett had the ability to write songs that were not only adventurous, but commercially viable as singles as well. After Barrett's departure, it took the group several years to become commercially successful on their own terms (although they obviously did). We'll never know what they may have done in the intervening years were Barrett still at the helm.

Artist:    Yardbirds
Title:    I Ain't Done Wrong
Source:    Mono Australian import CD: Over, Under, Sideways, Down (originally released in US on LP: For Your Love)
Writer(s):    Keith Relf
Label:    Epic
Year:    1965
    I Ain't Done Wrong is the only track on the Yardbirds' US debut album For Your Love that was actually written by a member of the Yardbirds. To help understand how something like this might come about I have a short history lesson for you. Record albums have been around nearly as long as recorded music itself, albeit in a form that would be pretty much unrecognizable to modern listeners. The first record albums were collections of several 78 RPM discs in paper sleeves bound between hard covers, similar to photo albums (which is where the name came from). By the end of the 1940s the most popular albums featured single artists such as Frank Sinatra or the Benny Goodman Orchestra. Classical music, however, suffered from this format, since a typical 10" 78 RPM record could hold only about three and a half minutes of music per side. Even using 12" discs that could hold up to seven minutes' worth of music meant breaking up longer pieces into segments, which pretty much ruined the listening experience. Around 1948 or so, Columbia Records (US), the second largest record label in the world, unveiled the long play (LP) record, which could hold about 20 minutes per side with far superior sound quality to the 78s of the day. The format was immediately embraced by classical music artists and listeners alike. It wasn't long before serious jazz artists began to take advantage of the format as well. Popular music, however, was still very much oriented toward single songs, known then as the Hit Parade. This remained the case throughout the first wave of rock 'n' roll in the 1950s, with the new 45 RPM format serving as a direct replacement for 78s. LPs, being more expensive, were targeted to a more affluent audience than 45s were. The few LPs that did appear by popular artists often contained one or two of that artist's hit singles (and B sides), along with several "filler" tracks that were usually covers of songs made popular by other artists. In 1963, however, something interesting happened. An album called With The Beatles was released in the UK. What made this album unique is that it did not include any of the band's hit singles, instead featuring 14 newly recorded tracks. Such was the popularity of the Fab Four that their fans bought enough copies of With The Beatles to make it a hit record in its own right. This led to other British bands following a similar pattern of mutual exclusivity between album and single tracks. One of these bands was the Yardbirds, who had released a pair of singles in 1964. None of these songs had appeared on an album in the UK (the band, however, had released an LP called Five Live Yardbirds that had failed to chart). Then, in 1965, they hit it big with the international hit single For Your Love, which prompted their US label, Epic, to released a Yardbirds LP of the same name. There was, however, one small problem. Guitarist Eric Clapton had just quit the Yardbirds, complaining of the band's move toward more commercial material (such as For Your Love itself, a song which he had recorded under protest); his replacement, Jeff Beck, had only been with the band long enough to record three songs, none of which had yet been released. Epic, however, wanted to get a Yardbirds LP out while For Your Love was still hot, and ended up using all three Beck tracks, as well as the band's previously released British singles (plus two songs of uncertain origins), on the album. Two of the three Beck recordings were blues covers, making the third song, Keith Relf's I Ain't Done Wrong, the only original tune on the album (For Your Love came from an outside songwriter, Graham Gouldman).Since most of the tracks on the LP were already available in the UK, For Your Love was never issued there; the three Beck tracks did appear later that year, however, on a new EP called Five Yardbirds.
Artist:    Shadows Of Knight
Title:    Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day
Source:    LP: Back Door Men
Writer(s):    Tommy Boyce
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Dunwich)
Year:    1966
    Tommy Boyce actually had a songwriting career separate from his many collaborations with Bobby Hart. One of his early songs was Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day, which was first recorded as a single by the Colorado-based Astronauts (which gave producer Steve Venet co-writing credit) before getting included on the first Monkees album. Along the way the song got recorded by a handful of garage bands, including Chicago's Shadows Of Knight, whose version closely parallels the Astronauts' original.

Artist:    Moby Grape
Title:    Come In The Morning
Source:    LP: Moby Grape
Writer(s):    Bob Mosley
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    Moby Grape's 1967 debut album has been called " the ancestral link between psychedelia, country-rock, glam, power pop and punk." Come In The Morning, written and sung by bassist Bob Mosley, provides the country-rock part.
Artist:    Steve Miller Band
Title:    Living In The U.S.A.
Source:    LP: Sailor
Writer(s):    Steve Miller
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1968
    Although generally considered a San Francisco act, the Steve Miller Band, in truth, was never really confined to a single geographical area. Miller himself was originally from Chicago, and had cut his musical teeth in Texas. The first Steve Miller Band album was recorded in London, while their second effort, Sailor, was made in Los Angeles. Appropriately enough, the best-known track from Sailor, and the first Steve Miller Band song to get significant national radio exposure, was Living In The U.S.A., a song that is still heard fairly often on classic rock radio stations.